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An America That Speaks Mandarin

Real Clear World – Jeff Wang

“In 2017, one-fifth of humanity use Chinese as their mother tongue, and in the socially and economically vibrant online and mobile world, Chinese-speaking internet users outnumber those of the United States, India, and Japan combined. At the same time, there are more Chinese currently learning English than there are people in the United States. So there is also something of a tug-of-war at play, over whether young people in America, and indeed around the world, should be learning Chinese for future success. Here are the beginnings of an answer, in a quote from the late Nelson Mandela: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” And here was U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, speaking during a visit to a Chinese university in 2011: “Speech — communication — is the currency of understanding. It’s the currency with which we exchange ideas, from which flows the sense of whether one is being truthful or honest or sincere.” The key message here is that speaking another language is about much more than getting directions, or facilitating a deal.”(more)

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